The Chief of the SA National Defence Force, General Solly Z Shoke, will be retiring on 31 May 2021 at the age of 65. He joined the SANDF in 1994, having transferred from Umkhonto we Sizwe, the military wing of the African National Congress, when all the armed forces in South Africa, including the South African Defence Force, independent homeland armies (Transkei, Ciskei, Bophutatswana and Venda) and Apla, were brought together to form the SANDF. General Shoke served the SANDF for a period of 27 years. President Cyril Ramaphosa, in his capacity as president of the Republic and commander in chief of the SANDF announced that General Shoke, who served as Chief of the SANDF since 2011, will be succeeded by Lt General Rudzani Maphanywa as Chief of the SANDF with effect from 01 June 2021. Lt Gen Maphanywa will simultaneously be promoted to the rank of General. He is 61 years of age and will serve as Chief of the SANDF for a period of 5 years. He is currently Chief of Joint Operations. Until 1994, he was a member of Umkhonto we Sizwe which he joined in 1978.
Chief of the Air Force, Lt gen Z Msimang, also retired in September 2020. Chief of Defence Intelligence, Lt-Gen Jeremiah Nyembe and chief of the S A Military Health Services, Surgeon Gen Zola Dabula will also be retiring in due course. Maj Gen Wiseman Mbambo has been appointed as the new chief of the South African Air Force. Maj Gen Siphiwe Sangweni will take over as the new chief of Joint Operations from 01 June 2021. Maj Gen Ntshavheni Maphaha will take over as Surgeon General from 01 Nov 2021. Maj gen Thalita Mxakato will take over as chief of military intelligence from 01 June 2021. She will be the first woman to serve on the Military Command Council. These major generals will be promoted to the ranks of Lt Generals upon assumption of their new offices. The SANDF has organised tours of its bases to make the announcement officially to the troops.
President Ramaphosa praised the SANDF for its contribution in maintaining peace and stability within the country and on the African continent as part of African Union and United Nations operations, particularly in Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo and other countries in the region.
President Ramaphosa is hopeful that the SANDF will continue to carry-out its responsibilities to protect the integrity of South Africa’s borders under the new leadership.
For months now, former President, Jacob Zuma, has been defying both the State Capture Commission and the Constitutional Court by refusing to appear before the Commission and to give evidence. He first brought an application to the Commission that the chairperson of the Commission, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo should recuse himself as Zuma is of the view that the Deputy Chief Justice is biased against him. When that application failed, Zuma and his legal representative walked out of the commission and he vowed never to return.
In January 2021, the commission referred the matter to the Constitutional Court for the Court to compel Zuma to attend the proceedings. Zuma did not oppose the application and the Court ordered him to appear at the Commission and to give evidence. The Commission scheduled Zuma’s appearance for 15 to 19 February 2021.
Several political figures, including EFF leader, Julius Malema, visited Zuma at Nkandla, ostensibly to persuade him to obey the order of the Constitutional Court. The NEC of the ANC was unable to reach a consensus on the issue and in the end decided not to interfere and to leave Zuma to exercise his choice.
True to his words, Zuma did not attend the Commission. The Secretary of the Commission then brought an application to the Constitutional Court to declare Zuma to be in contempt of court for defying the Constitutional Court order for him to appear at the Commission. The Secretary further requested the Court to impose a term of two years imprisonment on the former State President, should he be found to be in contempt of the court order. The Minister of Police and the National Commissioner of the South African Police Service were cited as second and third respondents.
The respondents were given until 08 March 2021 to oppose the application. They failed to file any opposing papers to the application at the end of the day on 08 March 2021. The legal representative for the Secretary of the Commission, Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi, filed written arguments to the Constitutional Court in which he argued that former President Zuma should be found guilty of contempt of court and be sentenced to imprisonment for a period of two years because if the Court cannot exert the authority of the courts then the country runs a risk of descending into lawlessness and chaos where people can choose whether to obey court orders or not. There was no counter-argument submitted on behalf of Zuma or any of the other two respondents.
The matter is scheduled for a virtual hearing on Thursday, 25 March 2021. The much anticipated date has finally arrived and the country is holding its breath. The MKMVA has previously promised to defend Zuma should the second and third respondents attempt to execute any warrant of arrest against Zuma. They even went to an extent of camping outside the Zuma residence at Nkandla to prove their point. The country is sharply divided with many saying that Zuma is not above the law and he should not be allowed to be above the law, while his supporters are saying that Zuma should be left alone. The Commission is saying that it will not have a complete picture of the State Capture project if Zuma does not testify. What the Constitutional Court’s decision will be remains a moot point. If the Constitutional Court agrees with the Secretary of the Commission, convict Zuma of contempt and authorises a warrant for his arrest, the second and third respondents are obliged to carry out the court order and effect an arrest on Zuma. That is thevreason why the second and third respondents have been cited in the case. The difficulty with Zuma’s case is that it involves both the law and politics and Zuma has been pushing for a full politicization of the case.
Zuma has got many supporters, not least of which is the Secretary General of the ANC, Ace Magashule. In a case where he was summoned to appear in the Bloemfontein magistrates’ court himself, Magashule has not defied the court and has been in attendance twice already. Precisely what the EFF leader and Zuma discussed during their meeting remains to be seen when the Constitutional Court decides.
King Goodwill Zwelithini KaBhekuzulu was “laid to rest” at Nongoma on Wednesday night, 16 March 2021, under top secrecy. The site of his burial is kept such a top secret that even some of the royal family are not aware of his exact burial place. The memorial service was held on Thursday, 17 March 2021, at KwaKhetomthandayo in Northern KwaZulu-Natal attended by several dignitaries including President Cyril Ramaphosa, HRH Princess Charlene of Monaco and the Zulu nation itself. Former President Jacob Zuma was also present.
Speaking at the memorial service Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, umtwa’ka Phindungene, pointed out that King Zwelithini was the longest reigning monarch in the history of the Zulu nation having been on the throne for nearly 50 years. That King Goodwill Zwelithini loved the Zulu people unconditionally. He became King on the passing of his father, King Cyprian Bhekuzulu, in 1968. Fearing assassination, Prince Goodwill Zwelithini sought refuge in the Transvaal from 1968 to 1971, while his uncle, Prince Israel Mcwayizeni, acted as regent. Zwelithini was installed as the eighth Zulu monarch on 03 December 1971 at a ceremony held at Nongoma attended by about 20 000 people. The King died in a Durban hospital on 12 March 2021 after he was admitted for blood glucose complications.
Announcing the death of the monarch, the traditional Prime Minister of the Zulu monarchy, Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, confirmed that King Goodwill Zwelithini passed away of COVID-19 complications. Buthelezi said in an interview that the king contracted COVID-19 in hospital. He was 72 years of old. He passed away in the early hours of 12 March 2021. Buthelezi says the King was admitted to ICU in hospital last month for diabetes. Buthelezi made the announcement earlier on the morning of 12 March 2021 in a live SABC radio broadcast.
Also speaking at the memorial service, President Cyril Ramaphosa said that King Goodwill Zwelithini was a peace loving person and that he was often consulted for advice by many. He said that it was important that the legacy of the late King be preserved.
Kng Zwelithini was the ninth of the Zulu monarchs, from the founder of the Zulu nation, King Shaka kaSenzangakhona, who ruled from 1816-1828, followed by kaSenzangakhona , 1828-1840, Mpande kaSenzangakhona , 1840-1856, Cetshwayo kaMpande, 1856-1884, Dinuzulu kaCetshwayo (1st term), 1884-1887, Queen Victoria, 1887-1897, Dinuzulu kaCetshwayo (2nd term), 1897-1913, Solomon ka Dinuzulu, 1913-1933, Cyprian Bhekuzulu kaSolomon, 1948-1968, Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuzulu, 1971-2021.
King Goodwill Zwelthini was the custodian of Zulu traditions including the annual reed dance which is attended by thousands of Zulu maidens annually.
The Zulu royal family has appointed the third wife of the late King Goodwill Zwelithini as regent until a new monarch takes the throne.
Queen Mantfombi MaDlamini Zulu is the “Great Wife” of the late King, a position she held since her marriage to the king in 1977. She is the sister of King Mswati III of Swaziland(Eswathini).
Her appointment has increased speculation that one of her sons, Prince Misuzulu (47), will become king of the Zulu nation which is estimated at 11 million people . The king’s traditional prime minister, Mangosuthu Buthelezi, said her appointment was in accordance with late King’s wishes.
South Africans were recently shocked to the bone by a video of a male inmate and a female prison warder in their uniforms, having sex in the corridors of the prison facility. The incident happened at Ncome Correctional Center in Vryheid, KwaZulu Natal, South Africa. It is not clear how the incident happened and why a video of the incident was taken, but the Department of Correctional Services said that they were investigating the incident.
The video went viral and has caused quite a stir on social media . The incident has exposed the laxity within the Department’s prisons. Many have even questioned the level of security at these facilities indicating that if a prisoner can have the luxury of engaging in sexual activities with his jailers, then the intimates may as well have access to the keys to the prison. This is traumatising especially for the victims of crime and for the police officers and prosecutors who worked hard to ensure that criminals are locked away and prevented from causing any further harm to society to see that their pain and efforts are being ridiculed by prison authorities. Some of these prisoners are the most dangerous on the planet.
The conduct of the prison warder is even more shocking when you consider that the prisoner was apparently convicted and sentenced for rape, robbery, housebreaking and attempted murder where he was sentenced to life imprisonment in 2008. How the two lovebirds managed to secure an appointment within the prison facilty is still the subject of an inquiry by the Department of Correctional Services. The question that many are asking is whether this is an isolated incident or whether this is a regular occurrence at prison facilities in South Africa. Prisoners’ organisations say that this is just the tip of the iceberg. Many have questioned why the department uses female warders to guard male prisoners.
The Department of Correctional Services has vowed to take drastic measures against both the warder and the prisoner. They have already placed the prison warder on suspension pending a full disciplinary hearing. The department called the incident a serious embarrassment and vowed to leave no stone unturned to get to the bottom of the incident.
It has emerged that the prison warder is a married woman with three minor children. The video is so graphic that it cannot be included here.
And here are some quotes from rape victims, victims of the brutality meted out by people like the one the prisoner warder decided to engage in a love relationship with.
“I just want to sleep. A coma would be nice. Or amnesia. Anything, just to get rid of this, these thoughts, whispers in my mind. Did he rape my head, too?”
― Laurie Halse Anderson,
The residents of the northern parts of the mining and tourist town of Phalaborwa have once again been plunged into darkness. It seems that their problems are far from being resolved. On 25 December 2020, it was reported that the residents were forced to spend Christmas without electricity. At that time they spent more than five days without any electricity in simmering heat. The problem has resurfaced again and the residents have taken to social media to vent their frustrations. The electricity went off just after 5pm when darkness was approaching.
It appears that the municipality has been notified and standby teams have located the problem. The teams are working on resolving the problem. There is no estimated time for the return of power. The residents now dread a repeat of what they experienced during Christmas of 2020 when they also had to go without electricity and water. Jaco Gericke, a community leader, kept the residents updated with developments from the repair teams and the last information he provided was that the repair teams would require a TLB as the damaged cable was burried underground and they could only proceed the next day.
What compounds the difficulty for the residents is that they live very close to the Kruger National Park, which is an international wildlife sanctuary, and when night sets in hippos and other wildlife share the streets with the residents. Those who have to walk or even drive at night often find themselves face to face with some of these wildlife. Residents are well-advised to remain indoors to avoid such encounters.
Residents have blamed the aging infrastructure and cable thefts as the source of their problems and have blamed the municipality for not doing enough to resolve the problem which causes them heavy losses every time it occurs.
It happens to the best of us. Communication is such a fickle thing, and the lines of communication can become blurred every so often, especially when love and feelings are involved. Even those who think that they are immune to the confusion of conflict can find themselves drawn into a communication breakdown when they least expect it, and chaos ensue.
Even those of us who are better equipped than many others are not immune. This happened to Sally on the weekend, and to be quite honest, it took her by surprise. Her husband told her something that really hurt her feelings, and she automatically lashed back in defense.
It was a silly argument, over something as simple as a misplaced bottle of perfume. But to her, it represented something much deeper that had been simmering away for a couple of weeks. She gets frustrated at having to search for something when it is not where she expects it to be, worse still when her partner has shifted it and she has no clue where to begin searching.
Perfume, needles and thread, car keys, a Tupperware container to store her baking soda in, covers for outdoor chairs, all were examples of instances where she had to turn the house upside-down. A simple answer from her husband when these things were shifted would have saved her a lot of time and frustration. And the answer she got? “You need to open your eyes and organize yourself better”
She was gutted. When she comes home from work she exercises the dog and cook dinner so that it is on the table by the time her partner gets home. The house is always spotless and warm, as she is very conscious of coming home to a tidy environment.
She sees this as a fundamental part of her role in coming home first, and it takes a lot of her time. To imply that she has the time to “organize yourself better” really hurt.
She doesn’t expect praise, but she hoped that her efforts were recognized. She got told that “I don’t expect you to cook my dinner every night.” That was interpreted by her as ingratitude, and hurt her even more.
So where to from here? Sally’s husband felt guilty at coming home every night to the perfect household, where she felt guilty if it wasn’t perfect. It was never about her trying to make her spouse feel guilty, but it seems it did. And this is where the communication fell down. He misinterpreted her efforts, and she misinterpreted his response.
Communication, communication, communication. Sally needed her partner to keep her informed of where things move to. She needs to be informed. She needs to voice her frustration before it gets to a boiling point. They both need to talk about their feelings more, and how each of their contributions to their home and their relationship make them feel, and how they interpret each other’s contributions.
Just because something isn’t spoken about, doesn’t mean it’s not important. A relationship or marriage is not a competition, but for many couples it feels like it is.
When people feel guilt or stress, it leads them to act in funny ways. Often stress and guilt are barriers to communication. The key to overcoming them is to recognize what it is, and have the courage to talk about it. You might be able to do it as a couple, or you might want the help of a friend who can listen to the way you are communicating with each other and offer insights and advice.
They got it sorted out, and kissed and hugged. It wouldn’t hurt so much if she didn’t feel such love at the same time. But it served as a good reminder to her. Sometimes you get so wrapped up in your own emotions that you forget to think of the other person. You also need to entertain the possibility that you are misinterpreting each other. Talking about it is the way to expose the miscommunication and let the healing begin.
A good lesson to learn, even for the experts.
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Veteran journalist, Karima Brown, died on the morning of 04 March 2021 at the age of 54 from covid related complications. At the time of her death, Karima was a journalist at eNCA presenting The Fix. Karima was in hospital for some weeks before her death.
Speaking on behalf of eNCA, editor, John Bailey, said that Karima was a fearless and brave journalist who fought hard against injustice and she would never back down. She possessed vast knowledge of current affairs and was always close to the ground on South African issues. Karima was also a presenter on Talk Radio 702 presenting the Karima Brown Show. Speaking on behalf of 702 Clive Moagi said that Karima was a dedicated presenter and she always arrived long before the start of her show to prepare for the show.
Former Minister of Intelligence and ANC veteran, Ronnie Kasrils, as well as Karima’s former colleagues, paid tribute to Karima at her funeral on 04 March 2021 and they labelled her as a journalist who dedicated her life to ensuring justice for all.
A former colleague, Eusebius McKaiser, remembered Karima as a journalist who was committed to accountability and believed that journalism should bring about change in society, while Minister of Public Works, Patricia de Lille remembered Karima as a journalist who always reminded public representatives of their role in terms of the constitution of South Africa. The South African government also passed their condolences to the family and said that Karima’s death was a loss to the entire nation.
Na’eem Jeenah, director of the Afro-Middle East Centre said that Karima was committed to a unified and just South Africa where there would be no theft and corruption.
Karima was born in Cape Town in 1967. Her father, Achmat Semaar was a community activist in Mitchell’s Plain on the Cape Flats and Karima followed in his footsteps at a very early age when she became a member of the Cape Youth Congress (CAYCO). She subsequently joined the United Democratic Front while studying at the University of the Western Cape. In later years Karima was a member of the African National Congress (the ANC), which is the ruling party in South Africa. She is survived by her son Mikhail Brown and brother Zain.
Karima would best be remembered for taking the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) to task for publicly attacking her and hurling threats and insults at her on social media in 2019 as a result of an article she published, including threats by supporters that they would rape her. EFF leader, Julius Malema, denounced the people who made these threats as criminals and called on law enforcement agencies to track them down and bring them to book. Karima subsequently won a court case against the party and labelled the judgment as a victory for women and for freedom of the media.
Former SA President, Jacob Zuma, was scheduled to attend the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into State Capture on Monday 15 February 2021. He failed to do so and instead, sent a letter to the Commission via his lawyers. In the letter Zuma says that he cannot attend the hearing because he is awaiting a decision of the Pretoria High Court in his application to review the decision of Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo refusing his earlier application for the judge to recuse himself.
Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo found Zuma’s reasons for his failure to appear to be invalid and he accordingly dismissed them. The judge was now faced with a dilemma as to what to do with the defiant Zuma. The judge found either that he had no powers to authorise a warrant of arrest or that Zuma had violated an order of the Constitutional Court directing him to attend the hearing, and that it was that court which had appropriate powers to decide on the way forward. The judge directed the secretary of the commission to refer the matter to the Constitutional Court once again and as a matter of urgency, and specifically to request the authorisation of a warrant of arrest. He indicated that Zuma had the right to oppose that application when it is eventually brought in the Constitutional Court.
Meanwhile at Nkandla, Zuma’s residence, Zuma was even more defiant. Prior to the 15th of February 2021, Zuma received a visit from EFF leader, Julius Malema, ostensibly to drink tea. The purpose of the visit has not yet been disclosed, but it took place a few days before the State of the Nation address, where Malema subsequently went on the attack against President Cyril Ramaphosa accusing him of being incompetent, incapacitated and the most unreliable human being on the planet and having failed to achieve anything for South Africa and that he has declared himself as an enemy of the people. He said that corruption was on the rise under Ramaphosa sponsored and monitored by the cabinet. He accused the judiciary of conspiring with politicians to deal with the opponents of the current regime.
The MK military veterans arrived at Nkandla a day prior to the scheduled appearance and have remained there vowing to protect Zuma in the event of an attempt to arrest Zuma in connection with his failure to appear at the Commission.
The Minister of Police, General Bheki Cele, also visited Zuma at his Nkandla home. He says that they discussed issues in general. He reported to the President and the Deputy Secretary General of the ANC. He undertook the visit in order to try a prevent a disaster before it happens. The police may be required to execute the warrant of arrest against former President Zuma if it is issued.
Former President of the Republic of South Africa, Jacob Zuma, was summoned to appear before the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into State Capture on 15 February 2021, and to give evidence. This follows after he was implicated in wrong doing by several witnesses who testified before the Commission. He indicated that he is not prepared to appear before the Commission and to give evidence. Zuma previously walked out of the Commission while he was giving evidence and never returned. When asked to appear again, he refused. The Secretary of the Commission approached the Constitutional Court for an order compelling the former president to appear before the Commission. Mr Zuma did not oppose the application in the Constitutional Court. The Court ruled that Mr Zuma was not entitled to refuse to attend the proceedings and that he was further not entitled to remain silent when he attends the proceedings although he was entitled to refuse to answer self-incriminating questions.
Upon hearing of this ruling, Mr Zuma once again repeated his position that he was not prepared to appear before the Commission. Subsequent to that, Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader, Julius Malema, visited former president Zuma at his Nkandla homestead and held some discussions with him. Speculation was that Mr Malema wanted to persuade Mr Zuma to cooperate with the Commission. After that meeting, Mr Zuma did not change his position. With the date for appearance before the Commission looming, the ANC military veterans, MKMVA, also paid a visit to the former President at his Nkandla home. This time, the aim was to show support to the former President in his stance not to appear before the Commission.
The National Executive Committee (NEC) of the ANC held a virtual meeting over the weekend to discuss various issues affecting the party and the country. The ANC, the African National Congress, is the ruling party in South Africa. A statement issued by the ANC at the end of the NEC meeting was that the ANC re-iterates its commitment to cooperate with the State Capture Commission and call on all its members to support the work of the Commission. The ANC itself has been summoned to appear before the Commission and President Cyril Ramaphosa will lead the ANC delegation that will give evidence before the commission. This was clearly in reference to former president Zuma who was also present at the virtual meeting, together with former President Thabo Mbeki.
It remains to be seen whether former president Zuma will attend the Commission on Monday 15 February 2021. Commission Chairperson, Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, has refused to be drawn into any debate as to what will happen if the former President does not attend the hearing on 15 February 2021 preferring instead to listen to the matter when it is brought before him. The Commission has previously said that it is not a court of law and therefor does not have powers to convict any witnesses appearing before it and to impose any penalties on the basis of evidence led before it by such witnesses. The Commission’s role is to collect evidence relating to state capture and make its own findings based on that evidence. The findings may eventually be used by law enforcement agencies such as the Hawks and the National Prosecuting Authority-the NPA- which have powers to institute prosecutions. Other than to say that the Commission is biased against him, the former President has never explicitly given any reasons as to why he does not want to appear before the Commission. Many have argued that his refusal to cooperate with the Commission and the Courts may create a Constitutional crises given his position as former president.
From the very beginning, it was obvious that the articles of impeachment against Donald Trump had no chance of success and yet the Democrats pushed on with it. First, once Donald Trump had stepped down as President of the United States, the need to remove him fell away. The Democrats argued that it was necessary to impeach him even if he is no longer president. The reason being that he should be prevented from running for public office in the future. The second reason is that Donald Trump is no longer a young man and he has got several of his own businesses. If he were to run for any public office, it will only be for the Presidency as it is not conceivable that he would want to run for any other public office than the Presidency. In any event, why would the Democrats so badly want to prevent him from running for public office in the future? The answer can be that they fear the kind of competition that Donald Trump gave them in the November 2020 elections having collected 74 000 000 of the 156 000 000 Americans who voted against 81 000 000 who voted for Joe Biden.
On Saturday, 13 February 2021, the Senate found Donald Trump not guilty on charges of inciting an insurrection at the Capitol on 06 January 2021. All Democratic Senators voted in favor of the impeachment supported by 7 Republicans, who broke rank with their party. The Democrats needed 17 Republicans to support them for the motion to succeed. Donald Trump has been barred from using Twitter, his preferred medium of communication, so it is unclear what his future plans are. He, however, denounced the proceedings as ‘yet another phase of the greatest witch hunt in the history of our country.’ Saying further that,”our historic, patriotic and beautiful movement to Make America Great Again has only just begun.”
This is a second attempt by the Democrats to impeach Donald Trump and has left them embarrassed as they were convinced that this time around, the motion would succeed and that they would be able to get 17 Republicans to support them. House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, accused the Republican senators of cowardice for having failed to vote in favor of impeachment and said that it will go down in history as one of the darkest and most dishonorable acts. In his reaction, President Biden said that this incident reminded Americans that Democracy was fragile. Senate Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell said that he voted for Trump because he believed that the Senate had no jurisdiction over the former President and not that Mr Trump was not responsible for inciting the insurrection.
After all is said and done, Trump was acquitted by the Senate, paving the way for him to re-enter the political arena. There is a possibility that he might be censured by Congress. Nancy Pelosi referred to it as ‘a little slap in the wrist and that people are censured for using stationery for the wrong purpose and not for inciting insurrection.